Remembering The Clever Leader Of The Beatles

Saturday, October 9, 2004 - by Wes Schultz

Today, Saturday, Oct. 9, would have been John Ono Lennon's 64th
birthday celebration.

Born John Winston Lennon, he changed his middle name after meeting his second wife Yoko Ono.

The Beatles always denied having a 'leader' but John was surely the
start of it all. Having his own rock band in which Paul McCartney joined
and soon after George Harrison and later Ringo Starr. During their early
years playing local clubs and entering band contests it was John who
would ask "Where are we going men?," in which the rest would answer "To the top." This was the reinforcement they used for themselves after losing a contest or not getting a gig or contract.

After The Beatles became famous in Europe and the U.S. and then world
wide, it was John that would make 'spastic' faces while cameras were in their faces. It was John's way of handling the tremendous pressures of being so famous and keeping The Beatles down to earth.

It was John's accident and idea to use distortion on purpose in a
recording. John had set down his guitar near an amplifier which fed back a sound that impressed all of The Beatles. After learning to create the distortion on purpose it was edited and placed at the beginning of the song "I Feel Fine." Later he learned to create the distortion on stage during live performances. Recently I was talking to a friend about this and he asked if I thought John was the first person ever to get feed back. I replied that probably every person who ever owned an electric guitar and amp had experienced feedback but John and The Beatles were the first to use it creatively. That was a trait of John and The Beatles, they were clever and creative.

It was John that would take phrases that Ringo would come up with
(Ringoisms) and use them for titles of songs. Tomorrow Never Knows; A Hard Day's Night; Eight Days A Week.

During The Beatles Liverpool days they would play at art shows. Paul
came up with a French sounding instrumental bit in hope of making girls think they were French and get dates. Never worked he said. Years later after becoming world famous John suggested putting words to the music so Paul did. The result was the song "Michelle."

"Sgt. Pepper" changed the music world as people knew it at that time.
Using electronic sounds and demanding every sound on the album be
tweaked in some way, it was the Beatles excuse to end their touring. At that time it was not possible to recreate the songs on stage. Although the Sgt. Pepper idea was Paul's, John was once asked how they came up with songs that were so fitting to Sgt. Pepper. He replied that the only songs that pertained to the theme was Sgt. Pepper which was the opening song, and the shorter reprise toward the end of the album. And that all the other songs could have been used on any of their albums. The reporter asked then why did they work so well? John replied "Because we told you they would."

John wrote two books of one page stories, cartoons and poems. "John
Lennon In His Own Write" and "A Spaniard In The Works." His wife Yoko also wrote a book titled "grapefruit." Inside the front cover she writes "Burn this book after you've read it." Inside the back cover John writes "This is the greatest book I've ever burned."

After having a child with Yoko, John became a 'house husband' to stay at home with his family and at one point went five years without touching a guitar or writing music. Shortly before his death he released the album "Double Fantasy."

These are a few things I remember from the days when The Beatles were recording and from The Beatles Anthology Book and VHS (now DVD) series. If you don't own any Beatle or John Lennon recordings I don't think you would be disappointed with any album. In John's words from the song "Being for the Benefit Of Mr. Kite", "Having been some days in preparation a splendid time is guaranteed for all."

Wes Schultz

Time To Shift Our Thinking About Public Education And Community Development

There’s no denying that the month of January brings about new beginnings. But there is no reason why June or any other month can’t jump-start your desire for doing something you’ve never done before. Summertime is refreshing. It’s the ideal season to take a leap of faith and jump into something new. It’s a good time to shift the way you think; which will cause you to change the ... (click for more)

Let's Discuss Education

In recent days I have read attacks by Roy Exum against Education Commissioner Candice McQueen in the Chattanoogan.   Frankly, I am appalled with his words, and disappointed by his behavior.   It was Eleanor Roosevelt who said: "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people."  This would be an opportune ... (click for more)

Richard Anderson, 29, Struck And Killed While Trying To Cross Highway 153

Richard Anderson II, 29, was killed Friday night, while trying to cross Highway 153.   Chattanooga Police responded at 11:36 p.m. to a traffic crash involving a pedestrian struck.   A Honda Civic driven by Kelsey Hamilton, 20, was traveling southbound on Highway 153 in the middle lane with other traffic in adjacent lanes.   Mr. Anderson, wearing ... (click for more)

Eppard, 32, Charged With Aggravated Statutory Rape After 17-Year-Old He Was Living With Has Baby

Police have charged 32-year-old Anthony John Eppard with aggravated statutory rape after the 17-year-old girl he was living with had a baby. Officers were called to a civil dispute on Hillsview Drive on March 8. It was then found that the girl was living at the residence. She could not supply the name of next of kin or a legal guardian. The girl was placed in state custody, ... (click for more)

Baylor Beats GPS Again For D-II State Softball Title

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Winning state championships in softball never gets old for Baylor coach Kelli Smith. They are all special and some more than others, but the latest that Baylor captured here at Starplex Field No. 3 Friday night might rank as one of Smith’s favorite. As you already know, the competition came down between the Lady Red Raiders and the GPS Bruisers. These ... (click for more)

Clarke, Lom Score In CFC Win Over Chivas U-23

After playing 75 minutes to a scoreless tie, Chattanooga Football Club's Darwin Lom scored the first goal giving CFC a 1-0 lead.  The second goal came six minutes later when Charlie Clarke headed in a cross to close out the scoring.  The Liga MX U-23 team had alot of support from the local crowd but could not find the back of the net.  The win is CFC's first ... (click for more)